Single Review: Nami Tamaki – “もしも願いが...”

67966079 Tracklist:
1. もしも願いが...(Moshimo Negai ga…; If My Wish…)
2. 好きやで ~愛しい人へ~ (Suki ya de ~Itoshii Hito e~; I Love You ~For My Darling~)
3. MAGIC
4. もしも願いが...~Instrumental~

Nami Tamaki’s third single under the Universal Japan label was released on October 14, 2009 and reached #16 on the Oricon Daily Chart. The A-side was used as the theme song for the video game Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga. The single was released in a regular version and two limited edition versions, one normal and one CD+DVD version.

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The only thing that can really be said about these covers is NAMI, YOU ARE GORGEOUS. Prettiest single covers this year? Quite possibly.

As her first venture into the R&B genre, もしも願いが...has restored my faith in Nami Tamaki. This charming love song features an unassuming piano riff and several layers of electronic drumbeats,  not to mention Nami’s strongest vocal performance in a very long time. It’s a bit long by typical Nami standards but thankfully it never grows repetitive or boring. Also, as with most of her more recent songs, the English sections really stand out because her pronunciation has improved significantly. This is an absolutely fantastic song,  and I really hope Nami decides to stick with this genre because she’s never sounded better.

好きやで ~愛しい人へ~, the answer song to the original by ET-KING, is a rather diminutive pop song and sounds a bit like a throwback to Nami’s Greeting-era B-sides. Nami does a rather cute, charming job of introducing a female sensibility to a rough-sounding hip hop song. The male vocals, copypasted straight from theecdaoriginal, are pretty cool since they provide a direct contrast to Nami’s feminine vocals. I’ve been very impressed with the B-sides on Nami’s singles lately and this song is no exception.

The theme of this new album has got to be nostalgia or something, because I’ve never seen Nami take such an active interest in covers. MAGIC is a cover of the 1999 single by Tina, and although Nami’s version sounds similar enough, it’s a great cover because it brings Tina’s rather dated-sounding original into the 21st century with layers of synth. Nami also exhibits a high degree of control over her voice when switching between the lower register in the verses and higher register in the chorus. I’m not even going to comment on her English anymore since it’s been sounding consistently great and I’m just going to assume from now on that this is her new standard.

Summary: After two slightly disappointing singles in which the B-sides exceeded their A-sides in just about every way imaginable, I was seriously beginning to doubt whether Nami Tamaki’s move from the Sony music label to Universal Japan had been a wise one. However, this single introduces Nami to a genre that’s entirely new to her and, in my opinion, just might be the one that sticks. The technopop and bubblegum were cute, and the attempts at rock and hip-hop were admirable, but R&B brings Nami to a whole new level both musically and vocally. In case you can’t already tell, I highly recommend this single to anyone and everyone.

Single Grade: A+

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